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Patient distressed by 6-year wait for surgery

Written by Lungile Thamela

The long waiting list for operations at one of the continent’s biggest hospitals is causing anxiety for a Soweto woman who has been told she has to wait until 2023 for an operation.

Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital will be doing Saturday surgeries to address the backlog. (Credit: File)

Sylvia Kubheka (55) from Soweto has been told she has to wait six years in order to undergo a hip replacement procedure at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

Kubheka says she was referred to the hospital from her local clinic last December. She sought treatment after suffering from lower back pain since 2008.

Kubheka first went to the hospital last year in April on a referral from the Mofolo North Clinic. She visited the hospital regularly during the course of 2016 and during that period had blood tests done and was prescribed medication for her pain.

“In December 2016 I was then given a date for my hip operation,” she told Health-e.

‘Huge surgery backlog’

[quote float = right]The date she was given was in 2023, and she was told that there is a huge surgery backlog at the hospital.

The date she was given was in 2023, and she was told that there is a huge surgery backlog at the hospital.Kubheka says when she complained about the date being so far ahead, she was told that there were already many other patients on the waiting list for procedures.

“The lady working at administration just told me that there are many patients on the waiting list, and there is nothing they can do so I will have to wait for 2023,” Kubheka said.

She is now worried about her condition deteriorating while she waits for the operation she needs.

“The date I have been given is too far. It is a very long time for me to be suffering from pains and my legs are now swelling. It is difficult for me to walk even a distance of 10 meters,” cried Kubheka.

The Gauteng Department of Health says they have put measures in place to address the long waiting lists at provincial hospitals. Departmental spokesperson Steve Mabona said they were conducting weekend blitzes and other similar initiatives in an effort to speed up hip and knee replacement surgeries.

“We plead for patience and understanding from members of the community. Patients will be invited back as and when their names come up on the list,” said Mabona.

About the author

Lungile Thamela

Lungile Thamela is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Gauteng's Johannesburg Health District.